LEGISLATION PROTECTING CHILDREN FROM ON-LINE SEXUAL EXPLOITATION COMES INTO FORCE

TORONTO, December 8, 2011 - The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, accompanied by Robert Goguen, M.P. for Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice, announced today that Bill C-22, An Act respecting the mandatory reporting of Internet child pornography by persons who provide an Internet service, came into force. The legislation helps protect children from on-line sexual exploitation.

"Canadians are rightfully concerned that in 2010, child pornography offences were up by more than 30 percent," said Minister Nicholson. "The sexual exploitation of children by Internet sexual predators is a very serious crime and our Government is committed to taking tough action against it."

In September 2008, the Federal/Provincial/Territorial ministers responsible for Justice agreed that Canada's response to child pornography could be enhanced by federal legislation establishing mandatory reporting of on-line child pornography by providers of Internet services.

Bill C-22 applies to suppliers of Internet services to the public, including those who provide electronic mail services, Internet content hosting services, and social networking sites. It requires them to:

  • report tips they receive regarding Web sites where child pornography may be publicly available to the Canadian Centre for Child Protection; and
  • notify police and safeguard evidence if they believe that a child pornography offence has been committed using an Internet service that they provide.

The Canadian Centre for Child Protection is a charitable organization which operates Cybertip.ca, Canada's national tip line to report on-line sexual abuse of children.

"The goal of mandatory reporting is to facilitate the reporting of child pornography on the Internet," said Lianna McDonald, Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection. "We are confident that this legislation will reduce the circulation of these harmful images, rescue victims and identify those committing crimes against children."

"Police forces across Canada make every effort to combat the creation and distribution of child pornography, but cannot eliminate on-line sexual exploitation by working alone," said Mr. Robert Goguen. "Our Government is providing police with the tools they need, and making it clear that we all have a role to play in protecting our children from this unspeakable crime."

The Government also recently introduced the Safe Streets and Communities Act, which aims to better protect children and youth from sexual predators. It proposes increased penalties for sexual offences against children and would create two new offences aimed at conduct that could enable the commission of a sexual offence against a child.

An on-line version of the legislation is available at www.parl.gc.ca.

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Ref.:

Julie Di Mambro
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Justice
613-992-4621


Media Relations
Department of Justice
(613) 957-4207


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Internet: www.canada.justice.gc.ca


Backgrounder: PROTECTING CHILDREN FROM ONLINE SEXUAL EXPLOITATION

An Act respecting the mandatory reporting of Internet child pornography by persons who provide an Internet service, Bill C-22, enhances Canada's capacity to protect children against sexual exploitation by making it mandatory for those who supply an Internet service to report on-line child pornography. The legislation helps safeguard children by improving law enforcement's ability to detect offences and reduce the availability of child pornography on the Internet.

Under the new legislation, those who provide Internet services to the public are now required to:

  • report tips they receive regarding Web sites where child pornography may be publicly available to the Canadian Centre for Child Protection; and,
  • notify police and safeguard evidence if they believe that a child pornography offence has been committed using an Internet service that they provide.

The legislation was carefully tailored to achieve its objectives while minimizing the impact on the privacy of Canadians. Suppliers of Internet services are not required to send personal subscriber information under this statute. Since this legislation was also designed to limit access to child pornography and avoid creating new consumers of this type of material, nothing in the Act requires or authorizes a person to seek out child pornography.

Failure to comply with the duties set out in this legislation constitutes an offence punishable by summary conviction with a graduated penalty scheme. For individuals (sole proprietorships), the maximum penalty is a fine of $1,000 for a first offence, $5,000 for a second offence, and for third and subsequent offences $10,000 or six months imprisonment, or both. For corporations and other entities, maximum fines are $10,000 for a first offence, $50,000 for a second offence, and $100,000 for third and subsequent offences.

Child Pornography

Child pornography is a very serious form of child sexual exploitation. Not only are individual children abused and exploited in the making and viewing of child pornography, but the supply of and continuing demand for child pornography exploits and endangers all children by portraying them as objects for sexual gratification.

The Criminal Code's existing child pornography provisions prohibit all forms of making, distributing, making available, accessing and possessing child pornography, including through the use of the Internet.

ISPs and other providers of Internet services

The legislation covers more than just "Internet service providers" or "ISPs," terms that are commonly used in relation to those who provide access to the Internet. The legislation applies to all persons who provide an Internet service to the public. While this does include ISPs, it also includes those who provide electronic mail services, Internet content hosting services, and social networking sites.

The Canadian Centre for Child Protection

The Canadian Centre for Child Protection operates Cybertip.ca, which since 2005 has served as the 24/7 national tip line for voluntary reports of child pornography and other child sexual exploitation content on the Internet. The Centre has been a partner of the federal government for many years in the implementation of the National Strategy for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation on the Internet, which is administered by Public Safety Canada.

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Department of Justice Canada
December 2011

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